Alberto Machado drops then decisions a vulnerable Rafael Mensah.
From the opening bell, it was apparent this fight was a mismatch. Mensah appeared to have an experience advantage on paper as he had 12 more fights than the champion.
However, when one looks closely at his resume, it becomes clear he may be in over his head. With an undefeated record in 31 fights, this was his first fight on American soil. In addition, this was his first attempt at a major title.
Mensah just wasn’t good enough!
Machado did an excellent job of dictating the pace in this fight. He stayed mostly on the outside fighting behind the jab and setting up his straight left hand from the southpaw position.
At the end of the first round, Mensah was caught in the pocket and was clipped by a follow-up right hook. The shot sent him sprawling across the ring and allowed Mensah to score a knockdown.
Getting clipped during an exchange rendered the challenger a bit cautious going forward. At one point he stopped trying to get inside and elected to sit at mid-range distance trying to punch with the longer, taller champion.
A good strategy if you are in range to actually hit your opponent, which Mensah was not.
In the middle rounds, he decides to abandon this game-plan and started to use his jab more to position himself to get inside Machado’s jab. This would allow him to dig to the body more to tire the champion out.
Another good decision, only he wasn’t savvy enough with his movement to avoid being countered.
By round nine, Mensah’s mouth became swollen to the point where he had to keep his mouth open. While he showed great heart and was able to keep himself from being dropped again, he just did not have the skill to compete with Machado.
All three judges scored the fight in favor of the champion which marked the first successful defense of the WBA title.
Machado improves to 20-0 with 16 knockouts.
By: EJ Williams